Reserve Forces:

Proposals to Expand Call-up Authorities Should Include Numerical Limitations

NSIAD-97-129: Published: Apr 18, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1997.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Mark E. Gebicke
(202) 512-5140
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the adequacy and completeness of the Department of Defense's (DOD) report for improving the timeliness, adequacy, and effectiveness of reserve component responses to domestic emergencies and national contingency operations.

GAO noted that: (1) the DOD report on reserve component responsiveness appears to be a complete and appropriate response to the matters identified in the legislated requirement for the report; (2) the report was the result of a collaborative effort among the key DOD organizations involved with reserve matters and generally represented a consensus view based upon military judgment and experience; (3) as required, the Reserve Forces Policy Board fully participated in the development of DOD's report; (4) DOD concluded that it would be useful to expand the statutory authority for involuntarily accessing reserve component capabilities; (5) specifically, DOD proposed that the service secretaries' authority to call reservists involuntarily to active duty should be expanded from 15 to 30 days each year and presented two reasons for proposing such a change; (6) first, the expanded authority would provide DOD access to reserves for a longer period, which could be helpful in responding to domestic emergencies and disasters; (7) second, expanding the call-up authority would allow DOD to activate reservists for up to 30 days to perform critical tasks in preparation for an expected Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up (PSRC); (8) referring to this as the "prime-the-pump" requirement, DOD stated that, in preparing its report, it had revalidated the need to activate 25,000 reservists for this purpose; (9) representatives from the Reserve Forces Policy Board and the seven reserve components generally supported the DOD conclusion that expanded call-up authorities were needed; (10) however, concerns were expressed that expanded authority could result in more frequent, longer, and in some cases unnecessary activations, which could have adverse impacts on reservists, their families, and employers and ultimately affect reserve component recruitment, retention, and readiness; (11) to help mitigate potential adverse impacts, GAO believes the proposal for expanded call-up authority should include limits on the maximum number of reservists that could be activated in response to a domestic emergency or in anticipation of a PSRC; (12) these limits should be in addition to a time period limitation as suggested by DOD; (13) although DOD stated it requires 25,000 reservists for activities prior to a PSRC, it has not determined the appropriate maximum number of reservists needed to respond to a domestic emergency or disaster; and (14) in addition, DOD has not validated that its proposed 30-day time period is the appropriate time period needed to effectively respond to domestic emergencies and perform the "prime-the-pump" requirement.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation is no longer applicable because DOD has decided not to request increased authority to access reserve components. DOD has concluded that existing call-up authority is sufficient.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, prior to requesting increased authority to access reserve components, should determine the maximum number of reservists that should be subject to involuntary call-up during a domestic emergency.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation is no longer applicable because DOD has decided not to request increased authority to access reserve components. DOD has concluded that existing call-up authority is sufficient.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense, prior to requesting increased authority to access reserve components, should validate the time periods required to respond to a domestic emergency and perform critical preparation tasks in anticipation of a PSRC declaration to ensure that the proposed time periods are appropriate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation is no longer applicable because DOD has decided not to request increased authority to access reserve components. DOD has concluded that existing call-up authority is sufficient.

    Recommendation: Should the Secretary of Defense request increased authority to access reserve components, the proposal should include limits on the maximum number of reservists that could be activated in response to a domestic emergency or in anticipation of a PSRC declaration.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 21, 2016

Sep 19, 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Sep 8, 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Sep 6, 2016

Aug 25, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here